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THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT

If you are suspected of an offense, you are NOT obligated to make a statement.  Indeed, it is our opinion that the vast majority of criminal cases are solved and prosecuted because potential suspects believe they can talk their way out of the problem with the end result being a confession or what a judge or jury will believe is a confession.  Believe the warning: "Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law." 

IMPORTANT NOTE #1:  What you probably do not realize is that the investigators and police are allowed to lie to you, and they will, repeatedly.  There is nothing you can say that is “off the record.”  There is absolutely NO truth when they say “a man would own up to what they did” or “the lie detector test will clear you.”  Agents and Investigators will almost always purposefully NOT video or audio record your interrogation.  They do not want anyone to see how you were treated, lied to, or coerced to make a statement against yourself.

IMPORTANT NOTE #2:  If you invoke your right to remain silent, investigators may re-initiate the questioning or interrogation after a "reasonable" amount of time.  This usually equates to about 15 minutes.  Therefore, invoking your right to remain silent will not end an interrogation in most instances.  On the other hand, asking for an attorney will cause an immediate end to an interrogation.  Read below for more details about the effect of asking for attorney assistance.

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY MADE A STATEMENT:  Do not lose hope if you have already made a statement.  Mr. Culp and Mr. Litka have successfully represented clients who have made statements against their interests.  Under certain circumstances, the statement can be "suppressed" because it was taken in violation of your rights.  Moreover, even in circumstances where a military judge does not suppress the statement, an experieced counsel may be able to demonstrate that the statement is not to be believed because it does not reflect what you actually stated to the investigator or agent. 

In general, if you have already made a statement:

1.  Do not make any more statements. 
2.  Write down all the circumstances that were going on that led up to your statement.
        a.  Were you out partying the night before you made the statement?  
        b.  Was there anyone with you such as your commander or first sergeant when you first made the statement?  
        c.  Were you ordered to speak?  Were you escorted you down to the investigators or police and told your escort would be back when you were finished?
        d.  How many hours were you at the investigators or police before you made the statement?
        e.  When was the first time you were read your rights?
        f.  Did you invoke your right to counsel?

3.  Do not lose hope, and contact an experienced attorney about your situation as soon as possible.

CONCLUSION:  In almost every instance, the only good statement is to NOT make a statement.  A statement that is verbal is just as damaging as a statement that is written.  When dealing with your command, investigators, or police, always be respectful – but you also need to be firm.  Do not allow yourself to be bullied, coerced, or tricked into waiving your important 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.  When you are asked to make a statement, you have the right to JUST SAY NO.

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